Monday, September 15, 2014

Diversion = Slavery. Simple as that.

"There’s a lot of talk currently in America about empowerment. Certainly economic and political slavery should concern us, and rightly so, but what of being in bondage in other ways? What of emancipation from the enslavement resulting from so many subtle forms of servitude? Listen to these words of Peter: “For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Peter 2:19). So many different things can overcome and capture us.

"The fundamental fact is that if we do not deny ourselves, we are diverted. Even if not wholly consumed with the things of the world, we are still diverted sufficiently to make serious discipleship impossible. As a consequence, all the gifts and talents God has given us are not put meekly on the altar to serve others and to please God. Instead, we withhold to please ourselves. Diversion, therefore, is not necessarily gross transgression, but it is a genuine deprivation—especially if we consider what we might have become and what more we might have done to bless and to help others.

"Ironically, brothers and sisters, the natural man who is so very selfish in so many ordinary ways is strangely unselfish in that he reaches for too few of the things that bring real joy. He settles for a mess of pottage instead of eternal joy.

"By denying the desires of the natural man (to the degree that these exist in each of us), we avoid this diversion, making it easier for us to take up the cross of discipleship. Of course, when it occurs in our lives, emancipation from various forms of bondage brings no celebrating parades, nor does it make the evening news. But it is big news because we come off conqueror!"

~ Neal A. Maxwell, "Called To Serve" BYU Devotional